News: Harley-Davidson Offers Voluntary Layoffs

Harley-Davidson Inc. is offering voluntary layoffs to hourly workers at three plants in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area to reduce staff by about 26 percent, giving itself flexibility to hire seasonal workers. The company began making requests for the voluntary layoffs the week of Dec. 5. Workers have until Dec. 23 to decide. It makes motorcycle engines and parts at the plants.

Harley-Davidson’s plan for the layoffs was first announced in September 2010 as part of a new seven-year contract with about 950 union workers. It plans to lay off about 250 workers as of next April and hire 150 to 250 temporary employees for seasonal production spikes.

While Harley-Davidson’s hourly workers are not paid a set salary, they are considered part of the company’s overall headcount and are protected by union contracts that require negotiations on a variety of matters, including downsizing or changes to benefits.

Harley-Davidson spokeswoman Maripat Blankenheim said the company would wait until the Dec. 23 deadline before deciding whether to implement involuntary layoffs. Harley-Davidson, based in Milwaukee, has been retooling several aspects of its business since Keith Wandell became chief executive in 2009. In addition to
restructuring its workforce and factories, the company has begun focusing on attracting a wider range of buyers in the United States and emerging markets.

It expects to save $50 million annually starting in 2013 due to changes in its contract with Wisconsin workers. Harley-Davidson Inc. is offering voluntary layoffs to hourly workers at three plants in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area to reduce staff by about 26 percent, giving itself flexibility to hire seasonal workers.  To read the full Chicago Trubune article click here.

Comments

  1. mike pannebaker says:

    It is truely sad to hear Harley refer to apart of their work force as “hourly employees” or union workers which were their major custumers for many years even when the product was at best not very dependable but many still bought them becacuse they wanted to buy american bikes and Harley was the only one out there. This until the company had it’s rebirth in the early 80′s done, in no small part, by those “hourly employees “. I believe that this type of ” us/them mentality” is the biggest problem american industry has today. We are loosing America’s most Important assets: the men and women who know how to get the job done when management is cutting back on the hardware,machines, and equipment needed to do the job the way we were tought by our parents and craftsman who made our coutry the best ever to date .Much of what I wrote here is not so much about the 250 workers who will lose there job for Christmas; it’s one thing to do it out of need in hard times, unfortunately they use the same exscuse in good times.

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